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May 26, 2012

Fleet Week: War Remains Godly

Fleetweek kid rifle

Two photos stood out for me from this year’s Fleet Week coverage in New York, the thirtieth year Navy vessels have docked in town for sailors to tour the city and civilians to tour the ships. If the scenes aren’t new, what’s noteworthy is how ingrained the ritual has become. Bag first covered the event in 2007 with three post (1, 2, 3) featuring photos from Nina Berman.

Beyond the maritime aspect, what’s always more blatant is the Fleet Week beachhead the Marines have established, bringing weapons and heavy equipment into Times Square and park spaces in the overt marketing of militarism.

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 behind us and with the 9/11 wars phasing out, you might think it made sense to start rolling back the hardware and the glorification of killing. Instead, that boy’s look of admiration scares me more than the M4 he can barely hold up, the military trappings — the troops, the uniforms, the weaponry — seeming as much a part of the landscape, now, as baseball.

Fleet Week anointment

I also liked this shot. Applying war paint for a combat demonstration, the tightly-focused scene looks like an act of anointment. As battered from battle as the country is, war somehow remains Godly.

(photos: Andrew Burton/Reuters caption 1: Connor Kennedy, 7, from Farmingdale, New York, holds the M4 carbine rifle of a marine from 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon during a demonstration put together by the Marines as part of Fleet Week in East Meadow, New York, May 26, 2012. As part of the demonstration, Marines from the 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon flew in a V-22 Osprey from New York to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York and stormed a field, where civilians could watch the demonstration. Marines spoke to civilians after the demonstration and civilians could tour various aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey.caption 2 (excerpt): A Marine from the 1st Battalion 9th Marines Charlie Company 2nd Platoon puts camouflage paint on his face before a tactical demonstration.)

  • bks

    Two Days Ago:
    “A U.S. sailor who died last week of medical complications was the 3,000th death among coalition forces in the Afghanistan war, according to CNN’s count based on …”

    One Day Ago:
    “This Memorial Day the Iraq war is over and the Afghanistan war is winding down, but they’re weighing heavily on post-9/11 veterans, 33 percent of whom said they weren’t worth the cost. …”  

    “Four NATO soldiers have been killed in separate bomb blasts in southern Afghanistan. …”

    “Officials in eastern Afghanistan say a NATO airstrike has killed a family of eight. …”

    p.s.  Yes it is the fault of George W. Bush, the Worst President, ever.

    • jonst

       I would suggest it is the fault of the American people and body politic as a whole.

  • psychohistorian

    What I noticed immediately about the kid was that he had his finger on the trigger of that lethal weapon.  Along with his wry smile, that kid looks like a poster boy for faith based killing with no regrets.

    If only we could get him to go after the global inherited rich that manipulate the sick society we live in.

  • George Mokray

    Both Jonst and Psychohistorian are correct.  The public is mercilessly manipulated by the wealthy and powerful but that does not absolve it from responsibility in these wars.  We will all pay for them in the coming years, even George W and Dick Cheney, although their payment will not equal the weight of their guilt-gilt-gelding-guild.

    30 years of Fleet Week.  21 years since the First Gulf War.  I always thought that was a dress rehearsal for the full mobilization and militarization of society.  Now with the drones and electronic battlefield coming home to our police departments (a profession staffed with more National Guard and Reserves members than average I would guess), we are pretty much there.  Permanent war for permanent peace.

  • psychohistorian

    How about we put the blame where it belongs.  We live in a society controlled by the global inherited rich who put puppets like Bush and Obama in power to do their bidding. 

  • jonst

     No, I think I’ll stick with my take. For myself, anyway.  The people, a clear majority in every poll right up to the eve of the war (to the extent polls can be deemed meaningful) wanted the war in Iraq.  They/we got it.  Now we get to live with the consequences.

  • psychohistorian

    I guess I wonder how you visit this site and not understand the extent to which the public is manipulated by the media and pollsters employed ultimately by the global inherited rich that control them.  
    I guess this speaks volumes to the degree that the global inherited rich are effective in making sure the blame is anywhere but on them.

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